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Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues June 2022 Scams Update

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–In our continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens, and to prevent them from becoming victims of scams, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is releasing today our June 2022 Scams Update.

A deputy spoke with a victim, a man who had been corresponding with a female on social media. The victim had been sending the female money under the belief that she was in the military in order to help her. The victim told the deputy that this had been going on for about five to six months. The victim told the deputy that he had sent around $10,000.

The victim said the money had been transferred via his Paypal and Zelle accounts. The victim said that he contacted the military, upon which he was notified that they did not have a record for the female being enlisted in any branch of the military. The victim had a photo of a Tennessee photo ID for the female and a telephone number that he had been using. The photo ID did list the name of the female who he had been corresponding with.

“Scammers will use any tactic at their disposal in order to steal money from victims. Scammers will create a sense of urgency in many cases, but they can also stir up emotions or pull on someone’s heart strings,” says Master Deputy Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office. “Scammers can also impersonate members of the military, or as a member of a public service agency, as a means to an end in order to scam someone. Our recommendation is never to give anyone you meet online any money, personal identifying information or account information. “

A victim spoke with a deputy in regards to a scam in which a couple received an e-mail stating that a digital watch had been purchase for $435.00 from their PayPal account. The couple made contact with a subject who stated that he transferred the money but accidentally transferred $43,500.00. The subject stated that the purchase was made from someone with a similar name.

The subject then instructed the victim to go to the bank and transfer the money back to PayPal. The victim’s call was then transferred to a second subject. That subject told the victim to tell the bank employee that she knew the person that the money was being transferred to. The victim then requested that $43,500.00 be transferred to an account at another bank.

The transaction was processed. Later, the victim realized that there was no accidental transaction and that she had been scammed out of $43,500.00. The bank account where the money was transferred to was an account out of state.

“We have reported on similar type scams before. Once again, scammers can use many tools at their disposal to steal from victims, including creating a sense of confusion. In this scam, confusion is created regarding a purchase that was never made, money being transferred back and forth between accounts, with large of amount of money being discussed, and transfers of calls from one scammer to another,” says Master Deputy Watt. “The best recommendation, if this happens to you, is to slow down the process and not to get into a rush. If you have an account with Paypal, and this happens to you, contact them directly. Do not respond to an e-mail that was sent to you out of the blue. Also, if someone calls you, tells you to go the bank and then tells you to tell a bank employee that you know the person that money is being transferred to, or to keep the scammer on the phone while the transaction takes place, consider it to be a scam.”

A victim contacted the Sheriff’s Office is regards to losing $200,000. The victim stated that he was talking to an online friend that he never met before. The online friend advised him to invest some money in an online app in order to increase his money.

The victim invested $200,000 in what appeared to be an investment in Cryptocurrency. He later realized that the apps used to invest were fake and his $200,000 was gone.

“Our recommendation is to never take investment advice from someone online that you have never met before. We also recommend only receiving investment advice from someone who is a Certified Financial Advisor and Planner who can go over your investment portfolio and advise you after meeting with you and determining what you investment goals are,” says Master Deputy Watt. “Always be wary of get rich quick schemes as scammers can use this to lure you into making poor decisions that can cost you a lot of money. With what is currently going on with the economy and the stock market and other kinds of investments, this could be fertile ground for scammers to take advantage of you so proceed with extreme caution.”

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